Let’s Talk About Sex

This is a guest post by Mac

I’ve decided to kick off a series on sex and Christian dating.  You see, there’s this movement in the Evangelical world led by a man by the name of Joshua Harris.  He wrote a book called “How I Kissed Dating Goodbye.”  In this, he argues for courtship rather than recreational dating.  You see, while recreational dating is usually for the purposes of just having fun together and some emotional fulfillment that is usually treated as an end in itself, courtship has marriage as its ultimate goal.

Now, I’ve never read KDG, but I did read a series on a website called “Boundless” (a ministry of Focus on the Family—a group dubious enough to begin with) written by a guy named Scott Croft where he advocates similar values to Joshua Harris.  That is what I will be commenting on.  The series is called “Christian Dating.”

Now while reading this series, I also read L. William Countryman’s “Dirt, Greed, & Sex.”  DG&S is a scholarly tome that discusses how two ethics of the world of the New Testament contribute to its sexual ethic.  The first is the purity ethic (better known as “kosher laws”) and the second is the property ethic.  Countryman examines the world of the New Testament to examine why the various sexual mores existed in New Testament times and examines what the implications of the Biblical principles regarding purity and property are for us today.  I will be examining Scott Croft’s views in light of Countryman’s text.

As an introduction, I will say right off the bat what I think two of Scott Croft’s biggest problems are in comparison to Countryman.   Firstly, Countryman is a New Testament scholar who has spent his life studying the world of the Bible as well as its language and, of course, the text itself.  Croft is a lawyer.  Now, I’m not saying that lawyers cannot ever comment on the Bible.  That would be as ridiculous as saying that a New Testament scholar can never comment on the laws of his/her country.  As a Protestant, I believe in the priesthood of all believers.  However, just as we are one body with many parts, it must be noted that some parts are more suited to some tasks than others.  A New Testament scholar has more authority on interpretation of the Biblical text than a lawyer, just as a lawyer has more authority on the laws of his/her country than a New Testament scholar.  So that is why, I feel that it is legitimate to analyze Croft’s work in light of Countryman’s.

Secondly, Croft attempts to apply a one-to-one relationship between our world and the Biblical world.  In many ways, this is both impossible and undesirable.  The Biblical world was an agrarian society (farming) while our world is an industrial society (urban).  The Biblical world placed a high emphasis on social units while our world places a high emphasis on the individual.  It would be very difficult to import all of the facets of Biblical culture to our culture.

It might also not be desirable.  As one non-controversial example, slavery was extremely common in the Biblical world.  Today—and this is important for the rest of the series—we consider it immoral for one human being to own another human being.  I personally think that our aversion to one human being owning another human being is right and just.  This is just one example of where I think that we ought not to recreate the world of first century Palestine.

This series will attempt to take Croft’s articles one at a time pointing out problems based on both my own observations and Countryman’s analysis of the Biblical world.  At the end as a “rant epilogue,” I will discuss the implications of Countryman’s analysis for LGBT persons.  I’m looking forward to writing this series and I hope that you are looking forward to reading this series.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.